Newsletter: Rahall Report - Preparing our Workforce for the Jobs of the Future


Recently, I announced more than $9 million in Federal funding for a consortium of West Virginia colleges -- led by Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington but including also Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Mt. Gay and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg.

The funding will be used for the Heroes For Hire initiative, a collaborative effort between our community colleges and local employers and workforce training system to strengthen and hone the natural talent of our workforce to meet the demand for labor in growth sectors of our State's economy -- our growing health care sector, our rapidly expanding natural gas industry, and our all-important manufacturing sector.

The initiative is geared toward military servicemembers and veterans, putting to use their previous work and military experience and matching them up with employers.

The future of our State is in no small way pegged to the ability of our workforce to fill cutting-edge jobs and attract new industry. I want to keep good, solid, well-paying jobs right here in West Virginia, so that workers can stay close to their homes and families.

Our manufacturing sector, in particular, where the technology and equipment is evolving by leaps and bounds, has been a focus of my efforts. I believe deeply in building a strong manufacturing base so that our State and Nation remain competitive in the global marketplace

That is why I have been such a strong proponent of our community and technical colleges and universities, and supported the Robert C. Byrd Institute at Marshall University, where STEM education and workforce training and advanced research are helping to create high-wage and high-skilled jobs of the future.

That is why I fight so hard to support education and workforce training programs for our young people, and why I pressed to secure the very important Federal grants that enable our community and technical colleges and workforce agencies and employers to provide the specialized training and apprenticeships and support services that workers need to get ahead.

Proof of my commitment to American jobs is evident in the fact that the National Association of Manufacturers just honored me with its prestigious Legislative Excellence Award.

In pushing back against burdensome EPA regulations that hurt our economy, I have been proudly standing up for America's workforce -- for our steelworkers, our coal miners, and the men and women on the shop floors and the assembly lines.

As the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I have been working to enhance and expand our State's and Nation's transportation system, making the movement of American goods more cost-effective and efficient. I have been successful in strengthening "Buy America" requirements in highway and transit and water infrastructure legislation to ensure that American taxpayer investments result in American jobs.

The combination of infrastructure investments and workforce training and education is key to creating the jobs and economy of the future.

All across our region, we can take pride in the emerging technologies and natural resources and skilled workforce that are lending great weight to the world-class American economy.

West Virginia is helping to lift our Nation's economy and strengthen and maintain our American way of life.